The Mimosa tenuiflora or Jurema is a beautiful shrubby tree that has been found to grow upwards of 8 meters tall. Its branches are covered in short thorns to protect itself from predation, and its leaves are pinnate shaped that grow to about 2 inches long. The flowers are white in color and have a lovely fragrance, which occur in loosely cylindrical spikes. The flowers become pods, containing about 3-4 fruits each. The seeds contained in the pods are flat, oval shaped and brown in color. The wood from this tree is considered one of the strongest and most durable available on the market.
This tree is found growing in the northeast region of Brazil, and found as far north as Mexico, including El Salvador, Honduras, Panama, Colombia and Venezuela. It prefers lower altitudes, but can be found growing as high as 1000m. In Brazil, the first tribes to ritualistically use this plant for its psychoactive properties are now extinct. The use of this plant was kept secret and passed from father to son by the descendents of this original tribe out of fear of severe prosecution by the white man. It was revived as the Jeruma Cult (O Culto de Jeruma). The traditional ritual itself is very complex. The inner root bark was the part traditionally used.
In Mexico, the powdered bark is used to treat burns and wounds, and is known to be miraculous in its effects. It acts as an analgesic, with the effects lasting up to hours, as well as speeding up the recovery process of the tissue. The bark has also been taken internally for exhaustion and debility, and has been shown to stimulate the immune system. In the Amazon, shamans would drink the tea and were said to be given amazing dreams and they would also be transported to heaven. There are a number of constituents that have been found in the bark of the tree, including triterpine saponins, and steroid saponins. The bark also contains high amounts of calcium, starch and tannins, and also quantities of the alkaloids N,N-Dimethyltryptamine, 5-hydroxytryptamine, and B-carbolines. The bark was found to contain 1% DMT, which is a very high amount. Of various concentrations, other chemical constituents are found such as lipids, phyto-indoles, xylose, phyto-sterols, glycosides, rhamnose, arabinose, methoxychalcones, lupeol, kulkulkanins.
Centuries ago, the tree was used for charcoal production and wood, due to its durable nature. Other medicinal qualities of Mimosa tenuiflora are antimicrobial, analgesic, antifungal, cicatrizing (to heal by scar formation), regenerative, anti-inflammatory, and anti-aging.